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Old December 14th, 2008, 06:18 AM   #741
EricIsHim
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The service quality is more market/competition driven. When Citybus took over CMB routes, it wanted to provide the superior and exceptional services to set up the first image to the public. Then NWFB came in and did the same thing. The five years afterward, Citybus and NWFB were direct competitors; and each tried to provide the better service to attract more passenger. The whole service improvement scheme ended when Stagecoach quit a few years back, let NWFB merged with Citybus as NWS Holding and it become the monopoly. The current TD policy on franchised buses only allows vehicles to operate if they are 17-18 years (+/- a few, can't remember the exact number) or younger. That's why KMB is constantly replacing old buses with new buses since the company acquired vehicles every year in the past and it just have to replace old vehicles each year as well. The policy is also why Citybus is getting new buses in stock in the last two years, because the first and second generation buses purchased in the mid-90s are reaching their vehicle age allowance.

The whole forward fare in section came too because of competition between companies started in the Stanley routes. There are only a few other routes that can run with single door vehicles have such fare scheme, e.g. Peak route. Buses and minibuses are hardly a direct strong competitor. Buses can carry a lot more people than the minibuses, which is only limited to 16 people per vehicle. Many minibuses fill up at the terminus which can't load anymore along the route; but buses do not have that restriction. Passengers can wait forever for the minibus that can't be got on; or pay a little more for the first bus. There is that capacity advantage in buses over minibuses which gives bus company to charge more.

In terms of scheduling, even if the schedule says 15 or 20 minutes, buses do not come in exact every 15 or 20 minutes. It is just a rough number. Citybus and NWFB still say a time range instead of exact minutes in many routes. Road and traffic condition can influence that schedule on paper in big time.

Even KMB's system isn't perfect, but it's still one of the best bus operators and transit agencies in the world.
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Old December 14th, 2008, 05:54 PM   #742
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Old December 18th, 2008, 04:50 AM   #743
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U-turn by bus firms on discounts for elderly
18 December 2008
South China Morning Post

Four bus companies have made a U-turn on their pricing - extending discounts to elderly passengers for a year one week after announcing the end of the benefit.

Lawmakers welcomed the concession, but lambasted the firms for refusing to continue a same-dayreturn benefit scheme during the economic downturn, which meant 228,000 passengers would pay 5 to 10 per cent more per day.

They passed a motion that condemned the bus operators' reduction of discounts.

The companies said the HK$2 flat rate on Sundays and public holidays for residents aged 65 or above would be extended until January 31, 2010 - despite their declarations last Wednesday that they could no longer afford the discounts.

The announcements were made yesterday hours before the Legislative Council debate.

New World First Bus and its subsidiary Citybus explained that the aim of the move was to "express our respect for the elderly". They said in a joint statement that it was "already the best we can afford within our financial capabilities".

"In recent years, Citybus and NWFB have combated with immense hardships, and deficits have been recorded for several months in 2008," the two businesses said.

Kowloon Motor Bus and Long Win said in another joint statement that the decision was the result of a "careful evaluation". They said they had respectively lost more than HK$160 million and HK$3 million in the first half of the year.

All four bus firms cited rising fuel prices, wages and tunnel tolls as difficulties.

"This is only returning a little benefit after profiteering," legislator Cheung Hok-ming said of the bus companies' decision.

"The de facto fare increase by cancelling [same-day-return] discounts means total indifference towards corporate social responsibility."

Secretary for Transport and Housing Eva Cheng welcomed the extension of holiday bus-fare concessions for the elderly, but did not comment on the end of same-day-return benefits.

During the three-hour Legco debate, lawmakers also urged the MTR Corporation to resume a HK$2 holiday concession for senior residents that was removed on December 1. Ms Cheng said the government had encouraged the company to do so.

A spokesman for the MTR Corp said it would review the need for various discount schemes from time to time, based on the operating environment and market factors.
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Old December 18th, 2008, 07:44 AM   #744
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didn't quite understand... buses need to pay tolls for tunnels in hk?
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Old December 18th, 2008, 12:05 PM   #745
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Quote:
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didn't quite understand... buses need to pay tolls for tunnels in hk?
All vehicles which needed to cross the paid-tunnels, such as the 3 cross harbour tunnels, have to pay tunnel tolls as they are mainly operated by Build-Ownership-Transfer by the private companies. There're only 2 tunnels in HK don't need to pay toll, Kai Tak Tunnel and Cheung Tsing Tunnel.
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Old December 18th, 2008, 02:45 PM   #746
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how do they manage that? are they paying some monthly fee, or they stay in line at toll booths as everyone else?
seems somewhat stupid for public transport standing in line to pay a ticket, and doing that whole day...
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Old December 18th, 2008, 04:34 PM   #747
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how do they manage that? are they paying some monthly fee, or they stay in line at toll booths as everyone else?
seems somewhat stupid for public transport standing in line to pay a ticket, and doing that whole day...
Bus Companies use Autotoll, an electronic toll collection system, to pay tolls at those Autotoll booths nowadays. Before 1990s, bus companies bought coupons from the tunnel operation companies. Bus Drivers prepared the coupons for paying toll at toll booths.
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Old December 18th, 2008, 05:11 PM   #748
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Quote:
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didn't quite understand... buses need to pay tolls for tunnels in hk?
Another way to look at this, majority of tunnel and public transport operators are all privately run. Tunnels are privately properties and buses are also privately owned vehicles, even both provide huge service to the public.
All vehicles pass by the toll facilities have to pay a toll for operation cost and revenue; and these tolls are also reflected in the bus fare.

For tunnels and highway with various toll for different vehicle classifications, double-decker bus has the second most expensive toll among all; just one step down from container trucks. Bus companies have been using single decker as well as reroute route to avoid the more expensive tunnel to minimize the operation cost for some less popular, but must run, routes, e.g. night bus between western NT/Lantau and HKI.
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Old December 18th, 2008, 06:28 PM   #749
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aha... thx for explanation... now i understand
but this is the first time i've came up with that information... i'm not sure if there is anything similar in the world...
but then again, hk has lots of tunnels and highways... and as you say they are all private owned, so it's understandable they have some sort of contract for tolls...
at the end... buses are running smoothly, passengers are driving fast and everybody happy
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Old December 18th, 2008, 06:40 PM   #750
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Quote:
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aha... thx for explanation... now i understand
but this is the first time i've came up with that information... i'm not sure if there is anything similar in the world...
but then again, hk has lots of tunnels and highways... and as you say they are all private owned, so it's understandable they have some sort of contract for tolls...
at the end... buses are running smoothly, passengers are driving fast and everybody happy
the public transportation system in hong kong is weird compares to many other cities in the world when these kind of important pubic services are offered by highly privatized companies which maximizing revenue is one of the most important goal, where moving people and eliminate private vehicle are in other places.

highways in hong kong are toll-free facility, except the lantau link. but tunnels aren't, except two hkth mentioned, public transport operators do not have any contracts with the toll facilities for discounted rate. they pay as the toll as listed. but there have been cases where the tunnel companies increase the toll for buses to rob for more revenue, because buses have no choice to reroute in general and are forced to pay the extreme high toll.

in reality, people aren't too happy with the bus service because they are saying the fare is too high.
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Old December 20th, 2008, 05:25 AM   #751
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Old December 20th, 2008, 06:47 PM   #752
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Quote:
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...

but there have been cases where the tunnel companies increase the toll for buses to rob for more revenue, because buses have no choice to reroute in general and are forced to pay the extreme high toll.

...
AAMOF, there are some routes, majorly the midnight N routes which operates between 0000 to 0530, had been rerouted due to this. Citybus' N11 and KMB's N368 (Formerly N968) rerouted to the (First) Cross Harbour Tunnel, instead of Western Cross Harbour Tunnel because the WCHT raise the tunnel toll.

All reroutes in HK have to be approved from the Transport Dep't, Bus companies and the District Boards where the routes are passing, if any one of them disagreed, no reroutes can be made.
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Old December 20th, 2008, 07:04 PM   #753
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And before N968 became N368, KMB changed the fleet from double decker to signle decker first to lower the tunnel cost as well.
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Old December 23rd, 2008, 07:44 AM   #754
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Hongkong double-decker buses (Built Before 1983)

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Old December 26th, 2008, 05:55 PM   #755
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Faulty alternators blamed for same day bus blazes
23 December 2008
Hong Kong Standard

A faulty alternator bearing has been blamed for the fire that gutted a Kowloon Motor Bus double-decker on Queen's Road East on December 10, according to preliminary investigation findings.

In its submission to the Legislative Council, the Transport Department said the failure was sudden and resulted in an abnormally high temperature, leading to the fire.

It said the bus, a 2-year-old Volvo model B9TL, was last inspected on November 14.

All 64 similar makes and models within the KMB fleet have now been checked and the company is in talks with Volvo as to whether or not the bearings need to be replaced earlier.

Meanwhile, the fire on a double- decker bus operated by Citybus on Stubbs Road on the same day has been put down to the sudden failure of the alternator mounting bracket.

The 11-year-old Citybus Dennis Dragon was last inspected roughly a month before the incident, on November 13, and no abnormalities were found.

Citybus has vowed to check all 222 similar makes and models by year's end, with 94 buses having been cleared so far.

The company is also in talks with the bus manufacturer on whether the mounting brackets can be improved.

``As always, Citybus conducts regular and thorough inspections on all buses to maintain them in the safest and most reliable condition in compliance with TD's requirements,'' a Citybus spokeswoman said, adding the company has set up a unit to investigate the cause of the incidents and to explore preventive measures. A KMB spokeswoman said the company had nothing to add to the Legco report.

In response to the accidents, all new buses purchased by operators will adopt engines of proven designs against potential fire hazards.

For existing buses, hoses will be re- routed away from heat sources while critical components that may prove to be fire hazards will be replaced.

Protective sleeves for oil hoses and electrical cables will also be retrofitted, while companies will also conduct reviews on fire and smoke hazards.

Professor Chow Wan-ki, director of Polytechnic University's research center for fire engineering said: ``The cause of the fire could be due to poor engine ventilation, coolant design or the [compact] design of the engine, but the frequency of [fires occurring] is still very low.''

He said it was unlikely the fires were the result of a structural flaw, adding the rate of incidents was statistically acceptable. ``If it were the same particular model that always caught fire, that's when red flags should be raised,'' Chow said.
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Old December 27th, 2008, 06:22 PM   #756
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Old December 27th, 2008, 06:39 PM   #757
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just realized there are "KMB" logos on the MTR buses.
so i guess the buses are operated by MTR, but mechanically maintained by KMB these days.
well... that's probably cheaper to pay KMB for service than maintain a small bus maintenance section within the corp.
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Old December 28th, 2008, 07:58 AM   #758
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Quote:
Originally Posted by EricIsHim View Post
just realized there are "KMB" logos on the MTR buses.
so i guess the buses are operated by MTR, but mechanically maintained by KMB these days.
well... that's probably cheaper to pay KMB for service than maintain a small bus maintenance section within the corp.
At first I thought this was a new KMB livery...but since you mentioned MTR buses...what areas are the MTR buses operating in? Also, Has MTR changed the Light Rail and KCRC feeder buses to the MTR livery?

Cheers, m
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Old December 28th, 2008, 09:01 AM   #759
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Photo courtesy of Dennis Tang

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1992: 1969 Daimler E (Retired from service)

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Old December 28th, 2008, 09:06 AM   #760
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